Sunday, November 20, 2022
HomeOperaa brand new era of singers excel in The Rape of Lucretia...

a brand new era of singers excel in The Rape of Lucretia – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom Britten, The Rape of Lucretia: Soloists, Aurora Orchestra / Corinna Niemeyer (conductor). Linbury Theatre, Covent Backyard, 13.11.2022. (CC)

Anne Marie Stanley (Lucretia) Carolyn Holt (Bianca) © Camilla Greenwell

Manufacturing:
Director – Oliver Mears
Designer – Annemarie Woods
Lighting – D. M. Wooden
Motion director – Sarita Piotrowski
Struggle director – Bret Yount
Intimacy course – Intimacy On Set (lead, Ita O’Brien)

Forged:
Lucretia – Anne Marie Stanley
Tarquinius – Jolyon Loy
Collatinus – Anthony Reed
Junius – Kieran Rayner
Lucia – Sarah Dufresne
Bianca – Carolyn Holt
Feminine Refrain – Sydney Baedke
Male Refrain – Michael Gibson

It has been some time since I reported on a Britten The Rape of Lucretia2003, in reality, when Dame Sarah Connelly took the title position on the Barbican Theatre, with Christopher Maltman as Tarquinius. Chronologically, this 1946 two-act opera comes instantly after Peter Grimes and The Flip of the Screw (its relevance might be made clear later) was to return in 1954.

Britten and his librettist, Ronald Duncan (who primarily based it on André Obey’s play Le Viol de Lucrèce) assemble a outstanding edifice. Using Male and Feminine Refrain (really every just one voice) is a masterstroke. The opera is ready in Roman occasions in response to the libretto; Oliver Mears provides it a recent setting in a contemporary, sparse flat – the one set is stored fixed all through, and Annemarie Woods’s design appears excellent: nearly clinically clear, considerably minimalist, it is sort of a clean canvas that may ultimately be painted with blood. The concept of Roman armies, generals and so forth is mapped onto modern military gown; and with that, the attendant machismo and all that that entails – together with emotions of invincibility of troopers and their resultant actions, be it wanton consuming, posturing or, on this excessive case, rape.

For this manufacturing, Mears labored with an all-female artistic crew to create a remarkably highly effective expertise. We’re introduced by a lightweight curtain which is drawn apart and closed at numerous factors by the Choruses. By having the Choruses not solely observe from the stage sides but in addition stay lively onstage while the drama is ongoing is fascinating – there’s nearly the sensation that they’re the ghosts of The Flip of the Screw. The choruses themselves are proven as a Christian couple, with Feminine Refrain sporting what a crucifix round her neck. As ‘observers’ they can not interrupt the move of occasions, solely touch upon it – thereby creating an extra layer between the viewers and the drama itself, permitting for some stage of emotional separation.

The concept of a static set means lighting experience is a paramount requirement, and D. M. Wooden is an knowledgeable with shadow. It’s on this house we meet our singers, however earlier than we do it’s worthwhile figuring out the one nice fixed on this efficiency. Diction was immaculate all through from all contributors, one thing that’s so hardly ever encountered. Surtitles had been successfully rendered ineffective, and that was a pleasure in itself.

Jolyon Loy (Tarquinius) © Camilla Greenwell

Of the characters, two, Sydney Baedke and Jolyon Loy, are Britten Pears Younger Artists; the rest of the solid are members of the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker scheme. As Lucretia, Anne Marie Stanley owns the stage (she coated Thurza in Glyndebourne’s latest The Wreckers, by the way); her voice is highly effective and but can usher in essentially the most outstanding vulnerability and, certainly, emotional ache because the work hurtles in direction of its tragic conclusion.  British baritone Loy is essentially the most macho of Tarquiniuses, an enormous brute of a person who convinces us that he’s led by base intuition; and but his voice is versatile and able to a large number of shades. A profitable actor has to make us dislike this character, and at that, Loy excelled.

A lot thought had clearly gone into the casting. The Male and Feminine Choruses (Baedke and Michael Gibson respectively) labored supremely properly collectively, each vocally and dramatically. Carolyn Holt’s full-voiced Bianca was a pleasure, however the true discovery absolutely needs to be the Lucia of Canadian soprano Sarah Dufresne. With actual stage presence and a lightweight, clear voice that was by no means as soon as insubstantial, she was the perfect casting in an opera that was already solid to the very highest ranges (she joins the Jette Parker scheme in 2022/23 after a spell at Montréal’s L’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal). She is going to, I imagine, be a significant addition to the scheme.

Kieran Rayner was a tremendous, robust Junius; Anthony Reed as Collatinus revealed a superbly targeted voice and, extra, convincing expressions of continued love within the second act. The ultimate moments of the opera had been as heart-wrenching as something on the principle stage – someway the small forces appear extra of a discount right down to necessities than any type of compromise.

Whereas the subject material of the opera is stark and brutal, it must be firmly said that Britten’s music is magnificently variegated – there are moments of the utmost magnificence, each when it comes to luminous scoring and in solo contributions (most notably that poignant, and prolonged, cor anglais solo). This brings us to the orchestra and its conductor, Corinna Niemeyer, presently Creative and Music Director of the Orchestra de Chamber du Luxembourg. Niemeyer’s sensitivity to Britten’s scoring was as impeccable as her sense of directionality – she clearly understands the work’s bigger canvas, which lent the dénouement a selected musical energy. There have been moments of illumination, too – a very Stravinskian tinge to the chord progressions on the repeated declarations of ‘Good night time’, for instance, like a processional to the gallows. Outstanding – as is every thing about this manufacturing and efficiency. This isn’t solely the Royal Opera at its easiest – it exhibits nice hope for the brand new era of singers coming into their very own proper now.

Colin Clarke

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments